NEUFCHATEAU, FRANCE - Two trains smashed into a car at a level crossing in eastern France on Friday, killing a 21-year old and three police pursuing him for driving without a license, officials said.
The young man had driven his car onto the tracks between the towns of Neufchateau and Coussey - ignoring the barriers - as he tried to escape the gendarmes, said local prosecutor Bernard Marchal.
His car became stuck and was hit by a first train before a second carrying freight smashed into it from the opposite direction dragging it for 300 metres (1,000 feet), Marchal said.
Two officers and the car driver were killed instantly while a third policeman, who had one of his legs severed by the train, died later in hospital.
Marchal said the three officers had been on the tracks in thick fog, presumably trying to help the driver.
No one was hurt in the trains.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent his condolences to the officers' families.